Gabriel over the White House (MOD)

Walter Huston stars as a corrupt U.S. President who has a brush with an angel after a near-fatal car crash and awakens determined to right all America's wrongs - now and by any means possible.

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Gabriel over the White House (MOD)


by PowerReviews
Gabriel over the White House

(based on 1 review)

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Surreal Dictatorship

By Caren's Classic Cinema

from Toronto, CAN

About Me Movie Buff

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    Comments about Gabriel over the White House:

    Last night I had a mother and son movie night. We watched GABRIEL OVER THE WHITE HOUSE (1933) directed by Gregory La Cava whose best known film is probably MY MAN GODFREY (1936). This is a most unusual film. Produced during the pre-Code and Depression era, it seems to have been based on two novels; T.F. Tweed's Rinehard and the second being the same title as the film written by Anonymous. And well it might have been. Walter Huston plays the newly sworn in President Judson Hammond who is corrupt at heart and happy to have this top job that will allow him do what he pleases. There are millions of men out of work in America alone and the leader of these men in Baltimore is John Bronson (David Landau) who is classed as a criminal alongside gangster Nick Diamond (C. Henry Gordon) by the President. Once we know this, there is a pivotal scene where two things go on in juxtaposition with each other. The President is playing with his beloved nephew (played by the adorable Dickie Moore) while at the same time, and in Hammond's earshot, John Bronson's speech is being broadcast on the radio. But Bronson's heartfelt appeal to the Government to help American citizens live through and get out of the Depression appears to be falling, literally, on deaf ears. You start to wonder if Hammond can actually hear the broadcast. In the next scene, Hammond decides to go for a joy ride, reaching the speed of 98 mph, when his car crashes and he lies in a coma. This is where the title comes in. A spirit, the angel Gabriel we suppose, enters the dying President's room and possesses his soul. So when the "new" President arises from his sick-bed, one of the first things he does is meet with Bronson and explain to him what he's going to do to lift the people out of the Depression. And it's truly rather shocking–his solution is Communism. Without looking it up, I bet many people involved in the making of this film were on McCarthy's list. And there's more. Hammond eventually declares himself Dictator, although benevolent, in order for him to tackle the many problems of poverty, crime and world peace (since the real world knew World War II was on its way). Pretty shocking again in how he handles criminals; they go before Judge and Jury in a rather unusual surrealistic courtroom.

    Watch C. Henry Gordon's face in his very last moment on screen. And world peace?–I'm not sure if I understood how it would work 100%, but at least the European and Asian world leaders agreed with the plan. (I noticed there were no African leaders, but maybe they were too busy with their own tribal wars?!) Franchot Tone and the not-seen-often-enough Karen Morely played the President's Secretary and Personal Secretary (wink-wink). But both played their roles with the intelligence one would need to be in their positions. Possibly one of my favourite Tone roles. And I liked that Morely's character's romantic interests evolved. Anyway, my 15-year-old son thought it was a "very good film". And I agree.

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